Thursday, May 05, 2011

God Spends Most of His Timelessness Arranging Meetings and Marriages

In Money, God, and Greed, author Jay Richards visits some of the same themes we've been discussing, in particular, the relationship between Christianity and the free market.

Obviously, capitalism wasn't always embraced by Christianity, and in certain two-bit quarters it is still regarded with deep resentment and suspicion. Fortunately, in the long run Christianity is -- and must be, if it is to embody Truth -- self-correcting.

No one would deny that evil is and has been done in the name of Christianity. But this does not mean that the evil is compatible with, much less authorized by, it. The same cannot be said of other religions of our acquaintance, some of which go so far as to make it a core principle to wage war upon those who do not buy it.

The fact that Christians are required to evangelize -- i.e., spread the good news -- is a source of great irritation to its detractors, as if another man's free exercise of his First Amendment rights is an affront.

But the same people are rarely bothered by the fact that one of its primary global competitors requires adherents to spread the awful news by waging violent jihad.

I am not troubled by the sappy religious folk who come a-knocking the odd Saturday to propagate their faith. I just politely inform them that we are one people divided by a common deity.

One time I even mentioned that they are wasting their breath, because I am already a devout Jehovial Witticist. It seems that they are trained to deal with most exigencies -- i.e., angry or busy residents, touchy atheists, the occasional paranoid Jew burdened by family memories of European pogroms. But that was a real conversation stopper. Try it at home!

It would be different, would it not, if the evangelists came equipped with Korans & Kalashnikovs, the latter imbuing the former with a little more gravity if not credibility?

Then, if they inquired as to whether I might like to consider their brand, I'd betray a tad more interest. "No, I am a stranger to this delightful kornucrapia of allahgory of which you speak. Tell me more!"

Back when I was a prickly atheist, I was much more combative with these porch-dwelling idiobots, in the manner of our loonitarian trolls. Polymythic hack of all tirades that I am, I would unleash the full irehose of absecular certainties, secure in my manmode knowledge that Science had vanquished the mysteries of existence.

I would try to hang them up with the good noose of natural selection, bop them with the big bang, darken my doorstep with the arrogance of the Enlightenment, sometimes even depack them with the tired gnostrums of some windy Hindi or commie swami, but to no effect. It all went straight under their heads. Their faith was equal to mine, plus they wouldn't even admit that I had none!

Ironic, isn't it, that I now have more in common -- even if it isn't much -- with these naifs than with my former knave? How did this happen? How did the previous Bob turn out to be nothing more than a chrysalis presence with a big kookcoon inside?

That would be a long story, a soph-indulgent autobobography co-wrotten to the core principles. What was is none of my isness.

Now, as to the above-referenced book, it is an excellent corrective to the idea that capitalism is incompatible with Christianity. To the contrary, it is the only economic system that is (potentially) fully compatible with its principles.

And of course, it is only compatible to the extent that it is populated by souls within the Judeo-Christian historical stream, if not in word, then certainly in deed. Is the latter possible? Of course not.

It very much reminds me of our Constitution, which was hammered out by Christian men animated by Judeo-Christian principles (the Bible is cited far more often than any other source in the writings of the Founders), fully enmeshed in a Judeo-Christian civilization.

But actually putting the document into practice was a very different matter. In reading this excellent biography of Hamilton, it becomes quite evident that the whole thing would have gone to pieces if the right type of men had not been there at the start.

Forget party, ideology, philosophy. If a valorous, virtuous, and incorruptible man such as George Washington hadn't been there, our nation never would have left the starting gate. And if an insanely brilliant and hyperactive visionary such as Hamilton hadn't been there at his side, forget about it. Washington could never have done what Hamilton did, and vice versa.

And the trail of unlikely events and bizarre coincidences that links a singular Washington to a singular Hamilton is just too outlandish to contemplate. It's as if the only two men in the world capable of accomplishing what they did somehow bumped into each other. You are free to dismiss it as coincidence. I do not.

For I do not believe that something so cosmically profound, so fraught with world-historical significance, can be likened to a couple of billiard balls randomly pushed around in the void. (By the way, the same applies to the origins of existence, life, and mind).

I understand that the secular weltanscam is founded entirely upon the premise that the lower fully accounts for the higher, chaos for order, and meaninglessness for meaning.

Different yolks for different folks. I realize mine is somehow over easy and sunnyside up. If that makes me a free-ranging fertile egghead, then so be it.

Apologize for the abloviated post, but I have an early day.

9 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Re. Capitalism & Christianity, funny, I musta been thinking your thoughts this morning. To the point, in a lot of ways Christianity almost requires Capitalism in order to fully take root and grow. Or verse vica. For instance, so much of technological innovation developed specifically as a result of monks trying to think of better ways to do things in order to keep their monasteries in stone and haircloth. As individuals, they didn't own property; nonetheless, as a group, they still needed stuff in order to survive. Plus the labora part of ora et labora is generally considered to be useful work (as opposed to, say, mindlessly moving a pile of rocks from one spot to another over and over again), which cannot help but produce goods that have value.

Additionally, holy poverty generally only works well when there are people who have and are willing to share, even if it's just a little.

5/05/2011 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob said:
"And the trail of unlikely events and bizarre coincidences that links a singular Washington to a singular Hamilton is just too outlandish to contemplate. It's as if the only two men in the world capable of accomplishing what they did somehow bumped into each other. You are free to dismiss it as coincidence. I do not."

I'll tell you, it was one morning that I just happened (just happened) to have the TV on and David McCullough was on talking about his new book "1776". I never watch morning talk shows. Never. This would be 2005 I think. Anyway, he made the same point you do above. Except more about all the remarkably unlikely things that happened in our favor during the war/battles alone.
Have you read 1776, Bob?

5/05/2011 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I remember in the interview he said "Divine" and I thought, what a strange thing for McCullough to say. I never heard him talk like this before..
The rest is history.

5/05/2011 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Regarding the Jehovial Witticisms, too numerous to mention individually:
LOL!!!

5/05/2011 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Fortunately, in the long run Christianity is -- and must be, if it is to embody Truth -- self-correcting."

As above, so below, for the older and proper name for 'capitalism', is the free market, which explains why it is possible for it to succeed - it's entire substance and nature is based upon making choices and performing actions, which if accurately fit to the needs of the people making up its economy, is true, and succeeds.

If not, it fails. It has nothing to do with what is most efficient (as with VHS vs BETA), but on what best fits with the needs, abilities, capabilities and preferences of those in the market to be served by it.

And explains why interference with the market, results in failure. Interfering with peoples perceptions and possible choices, altering the reality that can be perceived with what you forcefully wish to be perceived, introduces falsehood, error and misinformation into the market and into peoples minds, and that is what follows from it.

A command economy is not only ineffective, it is false and opposed to Truth.

"For I do not believe that something so cosmically profound, so fraught with world-historical significance, can be likened to a couple of billiard balls randomly pushed around in the void. (By the way, the same applies to the origins of existence, life, and mind)."

Works similarly with people. Upright, virtuous people, say and do, in response to the materials and people in their surroundings, what they feel is best, right and true, and the result is the Truth is more easily found and spread, integrating lives and actions and geometrically magnifying the Truth into being because of them.

Immoral people do and produce the exact opposite, and error, falsehood, misinformation and disintegration follows from them and produces evil as a result of channelling it.

5/05/2011 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

The word I was looking for here,
"...It has nothing to do with what is most efficient (as with VHS vs BETA), but on what best fits with the needs, abilities, capabilities and preferences of those in the market to be served by it...."

, was, I think, Prudence.

5/05/2011 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I second Van on the terminology. I get a little twinge when I use 'capitalist' any more unless it has the 'free-market' qualifier. There are statist capitalists, big-government capitalists, and socialist capitalists who wage war upon the free market pretty much every day.

Speaking of possible overregulation,
the New York Senate wants to ban neckties for doctors as being too germ-laden. I'm all for necktie bans, except for politicians. All politicians should be required to wear neckties. To be environmentally friendly, they must be made out of braided hemp and be strong enough to support at least 400 pounds.

5/05/2011 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous trail dust said...

Julie, thanks so much for taking time to respond (on yesterday's post). I realize that your open tone is not without its risks here. It's your kind of response that can lead to frustration, as the other end simply fails to stand in the light of truths that are so obvious to you. Sacred, hard-won truths, gleaned from personal experience.

I'm not going away, but time is precious right now and I know from past exchanges how a simple OneCosmos post can transmogrify into a half-day affair.

5/06/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

It's your kind of response that can lead to frustration

It becomes a bit of a knee jerk after a while, and again I apologize.

I'm not excusing myself, I admit it's an unfortunate learned response. So many of our dissenters are A) sock puppets of long-time trolls who have already heard all of our arguments and are only interested in attention, no matter what sort, or B) People who disagree but also come in swinging. For some reason, lots of folks think it's perfectly okay to put on a mask (of anonymity), go up to a group of strangers and jump into their conversation by not merely disagreeing, but outright insulting the conversants and demanding that they conform to some ideal of behavior the anonymous person prefers.

For instance, per earlier this week, he couldn't merely ask, "what's your understanding of this passage, and how do you square that with feeling glad about OBL's death?" Instead, he first stated "You're a bad Christian," then went on to count the ways. The first approach invites discussion; the second, a punch in the nose.

If that happened in real life, the interloper would stand a good chance at being physically ejected from the scene at the very least, and yet here they actually get mad if we don't take them seriously. Also, it's disappointing because a genuine discussion would benefit lots of folks, whereas a flamewar, while being a stupidly entertaining way to kill time (clearly, one that I sometimes enjoy a tad too much), is still stupid. Mea culpa.

5/06/2011 09:20:00 AM  

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